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If You Understand This Key Idea, You’ll Surely Have A Healthy Relationship With Yourself

If You Understand This Key Idea, You’ll Surely Have A Healthy Relationship With Yourself

Do you remember “that kid” whose mom was a clingy, smothering mess? You know the one we usually made fun of and teased relentlessly? The one we dubbed “Mama’s Boy.” “That kid’s” mom was always around and always over-mothering. She hovered, babied and embarrassed the snot out of that poor kid.

As “that kid” grew older, mom became even more clingy. Eventually, the poor kid just gave up. He barely had any friends, couldn’t have a girlfriend and ended up going to the prom with his mom. When it was time for “that kid” to attend college, his mother had a panic attack and was hospitalized (briefly) when he suggested attending a college out of town—not out of state—out of town. “That kid” is now an unmarried 40-year-old who lives in his mom’s basement and manages the local supermarket.

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The dangers of over-attachment

We’ve all heard statements like, “you are the air I breathe,” “the curve in my smile” or “the reason I get out of bed in the morning.” And on the surface, they sound extremely sweet, iconic, passionate, and intense but in reality, they are dangerous. Idolizing and clinging to a person, relationship or material possession leads to undue fear, irrational thinking and can have catastrophic results. Understanding that you are a complete person with and without your possessions, relationships, status, wealth and/or power is the key to mental stability and allows you to cope with the hurricanes the winds of change inevitably bring.

What non-attachment is

The concept of non-attachment is attributed to the Buddist religion as this is a fundamental practice of Buddhist monks, however, most religions (including Christianity) and pop culture psychology advocate a healthy dose of detachment in our everyday lives and relationships.

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Non-attachment is an objective and practical way of viewing the world, relationships and possessions. It is a choice that drives one’s perspective to view things, situations and people as they truly are. This thought pattern allows an individual to make rational and pragmatic decisions that are not fear-based, selfish, biased or based on one’s current emotional state.

Non-attachment breaks the bonds of clinginess and unhealthy dependence so many relationships experience and foster a relationship steeped in open and honest communication and promotes interdependence.

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What non-attachment is not

Non-attachment is not indifference, apathy, uncaring or the absence of emotions. Feelings don’t cease to exist. Individuals simply choose to relate to them differently because they understand their ephemeral nature.

Practicing non-attachment can benefit your relationships

Change is an inevitable part of life. You must expect, accept and embrace it in order to maintain your sanity and to keep moving forward. Babies grow up. The kids will eventually move out. Grandparents die. Lovers quarrel. These are facts. Being overly attached or dependent on anything is the recipe for disaster and precipitates the unhappiness and deep pain so many people experience unnecessarily. Non-attachment is the practice of developing a healthy view and relationship with the world around you. Here are a few keys to help you break your unhealthy attachments:

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  • Be present in the now: Things may change. He or she may leave you; someone may be a victim of a violent crime; you could lose everything in a tragic house fire…these things COULD happen. But they haven’t. Worrying is not a preventative measure. It inhibits you from experiencing the joys of now and robs you of the time you do have with people, places and things.
  • Develop a healthy view of yourself: Learn to love yourself as you are right now. Strip away all of the external factors: your looks, your career, your accomplishments, your friends and family members, and love the essence of who you are at this very moment.
  • Identify areas of unhealthy attachments and work to develop a healthy and realistic view of those things: The easiest way to identify an unhealthy attachment is to think about those things you are deathly afraid of losing. Also, think about your sources of validation. Where do you draw your sense of identity? Another person? A job? Being a parent? Once you’ve identified these areas, work on confronting the fear. What would you do without them or it? How would you move on?

Non-attachment is about existing in the present moment and acknowledging what is actually happening now. It gives you the power and capacity to shift or change a situation and not be a victim to it.

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Denise Hill

Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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